March 9, 2010

The Reviews

Being involved in publishing a book in some ways is a very surreal experience. Barry Hilton and I spent over a year working on Republic to Empire. We sent the manuscript away to the printer on October 2nd, 2009. I got the proofs for approval on October 24th and gave the ok to run the books. Barry received delivery of the books on November 13th and I got my first copy on November 27th (for those who don't know, Barry and I live on opposite sides of the Atlantic). After the initial buzz in cyberspace, people seemed to retire to actually read the rules and start to absorb them and things went... quiet.

Finally, in March 2010, people seem to be getting minis on the table and the reviews are starting to roll out in the mags! Wargames Illustrated February 2010 has a review by Robert Townsend and Battlegames Jan/Feb 2010 has a review by Steve Gill. Both are very favorable reviews. My favorite line about Republic to Empire comes from Steve Gill's first sentence:

Many powerful wargaming beasts stomp out of Scotland, the Isengard to Nottingham's Mordor, and this beautiful set of Napoleonic rules is one of the most impressive yet.

Very cool! In Wargames Illustrated March 2010 there is a great objective based scenario written by Barry that features unbalanced forces that is a refreshing departure from matched armies picked from point based army lists. There will be more articles in the coming months and Republic to Empire will be featured on the convention circuit this year (including here in the US at Historicon). Rule questions are starting to appear on forums and several blogs I visit on a regular basis are posting play tests (like JAM).  The buzz is starting again...


  1. Beautiful troops and terain. Are those French in the center of the photo Crusader? If so, they look pretty close to Perrys. Oh, and do those Highlanders wearing trousers? Interesting. Dean

  2. I think that it was a little unfortunate that Republic To Empire, Black Powder and Lasalle all came out within spitting distance of one another. Focus has been well and truly spread.

    von Peter himself

  3. Dean, the French are all Foundry. The Brits are Victrix and I did indeed combine a box of Highlanders and standard line infantry to make the 74th as they fought in the Peninsula. I'm not exactly sure that the bonnet was retained, but I wanted the unit to stand out as Highlanders, thus the conversion. They are the stars of my basing tutorial at so you can see more pics there.

  4. von Peter, I'm waiting to see where things stand a year from now. Certainly it would have been great to have been the only big glossy rulebook to come out in 2009 for the period (and when we started the project in 2008 there really wasn't any along the lines of what we were planning), but I think the sets you mentioned are all very different and appeal to different types of gamers. I enjoyed reading both Black Powder and Lasalle. The former may see use by me in the future for an AWI project I've been wanting to start. Regardless of what happens in the future, I am extremely proud of REPUBLIC TO EMPIRE and at least for me, the search is over for Napoleonic rules...

  5. Clarence (no - I'm sorry, as an Aussie I am duty bound to shorten every name and re-Christen those we like - my Kiwi friend von Peter will confirm - so you're now 'Clarrie'; a popular name in days of yore Downunder!)



    Your figures are fantastic - the presentation and basing set the benchmark for such figures - and the terrain is simply superb. I am entirely unsurprised that the rules project that you have been so intimately involved in has gotten such big wraps from reviewers in the gaming 'trade' mags. Congratulations.

    I also concur with von Pete re the plethora of rules all hitting the stands at the same time - we are spoiled for choice - but each set gets a little better and each fills a niche for different groups of gamers looking for different things. And lets face it - nothing generates rule sets like the Napoleonic period!

    I thoroughly enjoy your blog and site and look forward to trying out 'Republic to Empire' sooner than later.


  6. Heh... Clarrie... I like it as long as it comes from Downunder!

    Thanks for all the kind words, Doc.